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If you are looking for a silver lining to a cloudy British summer growing Wasabia japonica is it. Wasabi loves its summers cloudy and cool so if the weather is dull you can take solace in the fact the wasabi will be thriving.
A well established plant will send large heart shaped leaves 60cm high, making a striking feature in a shady spot where other plants might struggle to gather enough light. These leaves will die back in winter as all the plants energy travels down into the rhizomes that will be forming at the base of the stems. These precious rhizomes are swollen stems, not roots, and they hold the vital goodness that will carry the plant through winter and see it re-grow with vigour the following spring.
Wasabi will survive temperatures down to –5ºC, to protect it from those really cold nights some straw or fleece covering the crown of the plant is a good idea. Patience is a virtue with wasabi and the reward of harvesting and grating your own fresh wasabi paste will be all the sweeter for the two years it can take to yield the famously pungent rhizomes. Leaves and stems are edible and these can be picked in small numbers throughout spring and summer to spice up a salad whilst you wait for rhizomes to form.
In March and April long stems holding a cluster of delicately scented white flowers will appear, these can be eaten raw or fried in tempura batter if you are out to impress. After 18-24 months you will be able to see and feel rhizomes that grow up from the crown of the plant. When you can wait no longer pull the whole plant and carefully break apart for an eye-watering harvest to share with friends over sushi or in any of the delicious recipes and serving suggestions you will find on our website or by following us on social media.
We think we hold the British record at 377g for a single rhizome, if anyone can beat that we would prefer you keep it to yourself and not break our hearts!
All plants are now shipped with coir pots, not plastic.
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